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Election 2012: 12 reasons Obama won and Romney lost

President Obama went into his reelection fight facing significant head winds – most important, high unemployment and slow economic growth. But for a multitude of reasons, including Obama’s positives and Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s negatives, Obama succeeded. Here’s our list.

3. Obama's lack of a primary challenger

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    President Obama and supporters celebrate victory at McCormick Place, on November 6, in Chicago.
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There’s a reason most incumbent presidents win reelection: They enter with built-in advantages, especially if they do not have a primary challenger. Given the state of the economy and Obama’s mediocre job-approval ratings in mid-2011, the president could easily have drawn a Democratic opponent. But he and his family remained personally popular. It’s also possible or maybe probable that Obama’s status as the first African-American president shielded him from a challenge. A Democratic opponent probably would have alienated core constituencies and still failed to win the nomination.

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